Time to take the training wheels off.
There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding MPJ since the Denver Nuggets made him the 14th pick in the 2018 NBA draft. We know about his injury, the surgeries and the path he’s taken to here.
It’s time to write the rest of the story. The Nuggets have confirmed Porter’s participation in NBA Summer League play, they will need to use the summer league and preseason to determine what MPJ’s role will be. It’s assumed he’s going to slide right into the starting three position but there’s a little more at-play than that.
For example, Porter is 6’10” and currently carrying about 220lb. In Denver coach Michael Malone’s system, that sounds like a power forward. If that’s the case, we could envision the Nuggets declining the third year of Millsap’s contract and moving forward with Jokic, MPJ, Torrey Craig, Harris and Murray as a starting five.
If his frame is too slight to take the physicality of the four and he stays at his natural three, maybe the Nuggets restructure Millsap and go with Joker, Millsap, MPJ, Harris and Murray. Trey Lyles doesn’t look ready/able to start and Denver is thin beyond that at the power forward.
Regardless, Denver needs to know early what Porter is going to be and where he’s going to fit in. His shot and athleticism look so pure in practice but we’ve seen many players that look good in the gym (hoodie Melo?) but don’t translate that to the floor.
We all expect that his ascension is a forgone conclusion but please try to temper that with the fact that Porter has played exactly two games at an NCAA or NBA level and it’s almost impossible to predict either his injury status or his ability until we see him on the court.